It would have been a very terrible story to tell that North Oil sea platforms were destroyed and hundreds of oil workers lost their lives from a cargo barge that cut loose on Wednesday afternoon and had been drifting toward the oil installations.
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But everything is now under control and the loose adrift barge secured and currently being towed to safety - The New York Times writes.
According to Georg Eide, chairman of Eide Marine Services, the Norwegian company that owns the 360-foot-long barge, the vessel is used for cargo transporting and had been returning from Tunisia to Norway when extreme weather in the North Sea broke the tow line.
“The weather was so bad that it was impossible to reconnect it to the emergency tow line,” Eide said. But the oil company’s emergency response team was activated within hours and they had been “working through the night to coordinate and source other vessels and resources to help us in retrieving the barge.”
Since the barge was reported to be drifting toward BP and ConocoPhillips, the oil companies began to evacuate workers from the oil platform and stopped oil production for the time being until the threat was over.
Lucky enough, the vessel drifted past one of the oil companies by less than a mile. “It was a dramatic situation for some hours,” said Borghild Eldoen, the spokeswoman for the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Stavanger, Norway.
The barge is being towed to Norway at the moment. But before it was secured, BP moved out about 235 workers from its Valhall oil field on Wednesday night with helicopters; and ConocoPhillips also evacuated 145 oil workers from Eldfisk and Embla, its two oil fields.
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Everything is now under control and oil production will resume at the oil fields as soon as possible.